Vancouver Park Board to seek "conditional" injunction to clear Oppenheimer Park campers

Dec 10 2019, 10:17 am

After announcing this past September that it would not be seeking an injunction to evict people from Oppenheimer Park, the Vancouver Park Board (VPB) said today it has approved what it calls “additional measures” to “support a decampment plan for those currently living in Oppenheimer Park.”

And this “decampment plan” includes what the board said is a “conditional” injunction.

“As winter temperatures continue to deteriorate conditions for people experiencing homelessness in Oppenheimer Park, the Park Board has directed staff to work with partners to meet a number of conditions to further the voluntary decampment plan, supported by an injunction once conditions are met,” the VPB said in a statement.

The VPB said that as part of these conditions, “staff will engage a third party to conduct an independent assessment of the current situation in Oppenheimer Park to provide recommendations to enhance safety, provide support, and seek appropriate shelter for people in the park as part of the decampment plan.”

It has also directed staff to “revise the current bylaw, which precludes people from sheltering in parks, in order to bring the bylaw up to current standards, in accordance with other municipal models, and to meet legal precedent.”

The board said it has authorized the general manager to seek an injunction once these conditions are met.

“While we know this will take time, I am optimistic that we have developed a plan to improve conditions for people experiencing homelessness in Oppenheimer Park and to move toward a safe resolution to the current encampment in the park,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

The board, he added, “is committed to enacting a compassionate and holistic approach to this difficult and complicated challenge that touches everyone in our community.”